Words Zahabiya A.
Calligraphy Tasneem S.
Zahabiya ben currently lives in Sri Lanka and works in research for an ethical think tank. Her interests include writing, chocolate, walking, travel, chocolate, harry potter, legal philosophy, art and chocolate.
We have all heard the zikr.
Our Maula, Syedna Mufaddal SaifuddinTUS many a times emphasizes on this rivayat. Maulatena Fatema AS made roti in her final hours for her children and it was a significant act.
But what does this mean?
For me, knowing that Maulatena Fatema AS took care of her family and her home has far-reaching truths to it. I don’t even know the beginnings of these truths, let alone enough to discuss them, but to me, her ownership of the domain of her home was a foundation of our faith. Somehow it all links back to why we are Dawoodi Bohras now and why we belong to a Fatemi Da’i.
Alongside that, I believe that Maulatena Fatema AS is also teaching each individual muminah about their imaani home. I believe She is teaching each of us that a woman’s capacity to love is possibly her greatest asset, know that and know how to utilise it.
What does that mean? For me it is fairly straightforward.
By remembering what a Dawoodi Bohra woman loves most; her faith, her MaulaTUS, we are able to understand that our place is as muminah, with all the integrity and strength that it provides.
By remembering where a Dawoodi Bohra woman is most loved, it is possible for us to see our homes not as places of domestic exile but instead, places of learning and freedom, places which, in fact, prepare us for the outside world in exceptional ways. We know what we want, how to achieve it and who we are by utilising the unique value we have in our homes. This knowledge, given by our faith, then gives us uncompromising dignity.
Dawoodi Bohra women are taught that home economics can be a tool by which all our myriad qualities are effectively unlocked, so that we can realise who we are and what we want for our lives. Then we are given all the support and guidance we need to fulfill those intentions.
Maulatena Fatema AS and our Maulas – Syedna Mohammed BurhanuddinRA and Syedna Mufaddal SaifuddinTUS taught me that you will not know your own value from attempting to pursue goals and ways of life made important to you by the world. Theirs are superficial and fleeting studies of the complexities of the human spirit and intellect. You will not be satisfied within yourself if you attempt to weigh your life by values set by obvious and rather simple measures. Go deeper, aim higher. Know that your spiritual, social, intellectual and emotional well-being comes from appreciating higher, stronger and immeasurably more valuable principles. These principles are divine and yet so human.
Make roti, for you will know how healing it can be to immerse yourself in quiet fruitful hard work. Work whose results are so beneficial to so many; work that is a part of your inheritance. Stitch something, so you will know how to plan, how to create, how to train your mind to imagine an end. Use and value every moment you spend, whether at industry or at rest. Sweep the floor so you will know how to content yourself with seemingly humble achievements. Become an active and compassionate member of your community, in the service of your Maula, so that you will learn even more about your strengths and the worth of your mind; once realized, you will not know insecurity or weakness.
These teachings have roots from Maulatena Fatema’s AS time, but are being reborn now so that in the world we live in, Dawoodi Bohra women rise higher than they imagined possible.